Institute of Housing and Urban Development Studies Rotterdam (IHS), part of Erasmus University Rotterdam

The Institute of Housing and Urban Development Studies Rotterdam (IHS) was established in 1958 (then called Bouwcentrum) with the objective of rebuilding the city of Rotterdam after WWII. The centre quickly established an international educational wing to its operations and startedproviding international education and the transfer of knowledge and expertise to professionals from developing countries, seeking solutions in housing and construction sectors. Today, the mission of IHS is to develop human and institutional capacities, to reduce poverty and improve the quality of life in cities. IHS does this based on the cross-fertilization of three activities: education, advisory services and research. IHS believes in linking theory and practice: staff members spend substantial amounts of their time working in the field, so they have knowledge of the circumstances in the countries in which they work. They adopt this knowledge in the support, training and services that they provide for clients, as well as bringing the case studies from the field to the classroom with their students. As such, IHS creates constant flows of exchange between the educational, research, and advisory activities of the institute.

Teaching programmes

IHS educates urban professionals with diverse backgrounds in two MSc programmes: Urban Management & Development, and Public Administration (specialisation Urban Governance), as well as through a PhD in Urban Development and Governance. IHS furthermore consults national and local governments from the Global South, and engages in cutting-edge urban research. Key research themesof IHS are: urban strategies and planning, urban environment, sustainability and climate change, green cities and infrastructure, urban housing, equity and social justice, urban competitiveness and resilience, urban land governance and urban heritage strategies. Bringing practical experience from real-life projects back to the classroom, IHS inspires collaboration and co-creation of urban knowledge.


IHS collaborates with the other SAIL institutes as well as Wageningen University in a number of research and educational projects. Internationally, IHS is an active member of international networks such as the European Network of Housing Research, the Best Practice Network, the EU-sponsored URBAL network, and NAERUS. IHS is also a knowledge partner of IBSA-HS, a trilateral agreement between India, Brazil and South Africa, to promote South-Cooperation and exchange on several mutually agreed upon areas of interest within the housing sector.

IHS Alumni International Network

In 60 years, IHS has built up a unique global network of alumni, which has grown into a community of approximately 10,000 urban professionals in 143 countries, who share common roots at IHS. IHS Alumni are usually mid-career practitioners occupying key positions in projects, programmesand organisationsfrom the public, private and academic sectors. The primary aim of the IHS Alumni International network is to provide IHS alumni with a platform for sharing urban knowledge.

IHS alumni are employed in the following sectors:

  • International organizations such as UN-Habitat, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Bank, German International Cooperation (GIZ), Asian Development Bank, Cities Alliance.
  • National Organizations such as National Housing Research Centre Brazil, French Institute for Research for Development (IRD), Kenya Slum Upgrading Project (KENSUP).
  • National and Local Governments such as Royal Netherlands Embassy in Egypt, National Ministries (Ministry of Housing & Works, Ghana; Ministry of Public Works, Transports & Housing, Romania; Ministry of Environment, Indonesia), Parliaments (House of Parliament Indonesia, Parliament of Uganda), Municipal Councils (Municipal Council of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Municipality of Sana’a, Yemen).
  • Non-governmental Organizations (NGO) such as Cordaid, Greenpeace, Global Heritage Fund, Habitat for Humanity
  • Educational & Research Institutions such as Universities (University of Amsterdam, University of Sao Paulo, Copperbelt University of Zambia), Urban and Regional Development Institute, Indonesia; Building and Research Institute, Ghana; Nanjing Research Institute of Environmental Protection, China.
  • Private Sector such as developmental consulting firms, urban planning firm, architectural firms, construction firms and engineering firms.

Images: copyright © Institute of Housing and Urban Development Studies